Alex Thier

Alex Thier

Honorary Senior Research Associate
Alex was ODI's Executive Director from 2017–2019. He was previously a senior official at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and founded Triple Helix, a US-based consultancy firm working to increase access to off-grid, renewable energy in Africa and Asia.

Prior to founding Triple Helix, Alex held senior leadership roles at the US Agency for International Development (USAID). In his role as Chief of Policy, Planning, and Learning he represented the US in key international development fora, including on Financing for Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. As Assistant to the Administrator for Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs, he managed USAID’s multibillion dollar assistance programme, and more than 1000 staff in Washington, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the region. 

Alex also played a leadership role in the creation of several major international initiatives, including the Vision to End Extreme Poverty, the Sustainable Development Investment Partnership, the Addis Tax Initiative, the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, and the first ever US–China agreement on global development cooperation. At the US Institute of Peace, he led efforts to prevent genocide and mass atrocities and to help divided societies overcome the root causes of conflict. Earlier, he served as a legal advisor to the constitutional commissions of Afghanistan and South Sudan.

Alex has also held leadership positions in the United Nations (UN), Stanford University and several NGOs, and began his career as a humanitarian aid worker with the UN and Oxfam. He has authored and co-authored books, articles and op-eds in The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Policy. He has a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford Law School, a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a bachelor’s degree with honours, from Brown University. Alex is a US national. He is married to Tamara Gould, a documentary filmmaker and producer, and they have two children.